Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturd80's: Blondie Edition

Blondie, Die Young, Stay Pretty: (Too late for me)

Blondie, Shayla:

Blondie, Accidents Never Happen

40 Years Ago Today

Dear Lord, has it really been 40 years?
On April 17, 1970, Apollo XIII, crippled in an explosion several days earlier, successfully returned to Earth, where many of us had been biting our nails for days. The above is featured at APOD today. I don't think I've seen this image before, and it serves as a stark reminder of just how close a call this was.

I LOVE This Picture

From Sigrún Davíðsdóttir's Icelog; click over and click the image for full-size. Peace and Chaos in the same frame... which is sort of the point this journalist is making. Mainland Europe is in a lockdown, but Icelanders are, for the most part, just going about their lives and largely unaffected. The primary point of her blog is to explore what was going on with the Icelandic financial industry in the time leading up to its collapse... a point of which I was unaware when I choked on my coffee over her closing line:
The word going around in Iceland now is that the last wish of the Icelandic Financial System was for its ashes to be spread out over Europe…

Clear View of The Vent

The NYT has posted some AP stock footage of the first clear view of Eyjafjallajökull's vent, at least that I've seen. I have several times been asked today, "How big an eruption is it?" My stock answer has become that in terms of volume and violence, it's smaller than Mount St. Helens, and as volcanoes go, that wasn't a terribly large one. On the other hand, in terms of impact, in terms of monetary cost, this one is likely bigger. Even more so if, as it appears, it continues for days, weeks or months.
One of the things that really stuck out for me in the clip above is the trough in the glacier, probably the result of collapse as relatively warm water draining away from the vent melts a large sub-glacial channel.

There's another impressive video at the link above showing a view from what appears to be NW of the volcano, showing the plume of ash and steam rising above the cloud bank sitting over the ice field. I'm not sure if the jerkiness when I watched it was an artifact of YouTube (which is often jerky for me) or intentional. If intentional, it did a good job of emphasizing the billowing and pulsating nature of the plume.

I Hope They Pulled Out of That Dive Gently

Either that or that the pooch is Underdog in disguise...

How I'd Hack Your Passwords

Here's an interesting bit on password security.
Pay particular attention to the difference between using only lowercase characters and using all possible characters (uppercase, lowercase, and special characters – like @#$%^&*). Adding just one capital letter and one asterisk would change the processing time for an 8 character password from 2.4 days to 2.1 centuries.
There are lots of simple pointers to make your passwords several orders of magnitude more difficult to hack, and plenty of reasons to apply these pointers. I won't say anything about my own passwords; I have my own system for generating, and more importantly, remembering the danged things. But I'm pleasantly surprised by their apparent strength.

A Portrait of The Volcano As a Young Ash-Hole

I first saw these radar images, acquired by The Coast Guard of Iceland, yesterday, but unfortunately didn't think to mark them and set them aside. Then I couldn't find them again. But teh google came through for me this morning.I'm not certain exactly what we're seeing here... fresh lava? Ash on ice? Craters, explosion pits, melt holes in the ice? Again, I don't know. But The NYT says, "According to the Coast Guard, the three craters are between 200 and 500 meters in diameter."
So the "mouth" on that angry-looking image above is nearly a third of a mile across.


In other news, I just learned this morning (from a wonderfully informative and link-rich post at Eruptions) that the lava is andesitic, not basaltic. With out getting into a whole lot detail, this means that the lava is certainly more viscous (resistant to flow) than I had presumed, and likely more volatile (gas) rich than I had presumed as well. Which is not good news... this means that this lava may be prone to explosive, ash-rich activity on its own- with or without water and ice. Remember how I said that water flashing to steam was the driver of these explosions? It may well have been, but it's looking now as if the magma below the volcano may be of a nature inclined to explode even without surface and shallow ground water present.

We're starting to see the serious economic implications of freezing air traffic, not to mention the irritation and aggravation of millions who've had their plans disrupted, even if those plans didn't involve flying anywhere oneself. Sorry, folks; it doesn't look like there's going to be a respite any time soon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Hell or High Water

"Do you know how to get God to laugh? Tell Him your plans." John Cleese. Stranded in Oslo, Norway by the air travel grounding, he paid 3300 pounds Sterling (roughly $5000, if I have my conversions correct) to travel 930 miles (about 1500 km) to Brussels, Belgium. By cab.

Come Hell or high water, the Cleese keeps his appointments.


With all the news about the eruption at Eyjafjallajökull, and its impact on air travel in Europe, there are a number of tropes that keep coming up as reporters working independently keep coming up with the same "new" angles that others have already covered hundreds of times. One of those is the Laki eruption of 1783. For all that I most often find these repetitive, and more often than not, already know most if not all of the information presented, every now and then there's a little gem that makes me gasp. From BBC,
Today children learn about the Laki in school and because of the frequent volcanic eruptions, geology and the study of lava is a compulsory part of the education curriculum.
Now that's very interesting. Geology and the earth sciences are largely neglected in US schools. At the K-12 level (with a few exceptions; I think New York requires a high school level earth science class), geology is watered down and relegated to 7th or 8th grade. I have analyzed a number of those mid-level curricula, dating from the 60's to the mid 90's, and for the most part they're simply awful (again, with a few exceptions). At the college level, other than degree tracks, geology is often presented as "rocks for jocks," that is, with the assumption that the students are uninterested meatheads, unable and unwilling to make broad connections from the curricula to societal concerns. Not only is this unfair to the science and society, it unfairly reinforces the stereotype that athletes are idiots.

I feel strongly that at least part of our culture's inability to cope with natural disasters of all sorts- though floods and mass movement are the ones that catch my attention most often- is due to the fact that we do not expect citizens to have the least bit of understanding of fundamental earth processes. Thus, at a societal level, we foster a view of the planet as a static entity. And we are shocked, shocked, I tell you, when the planet reminds us otherwise.

I would love to pry apart some of the Icelandic curricular materials and see how they stack up. And I would love to spend enough time in that culture to develop a sense of how they view their relationship with the earth.

Alas, constraints of geography and language suggests neither will ever happen. But if you don't have a grasp how profoundly the planet can influence an entire culture, please read the article linked above. If you're not familiar with the Laki eruption, it's a very good introduction to an event that will both horrify and amaze you.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Boh-Dee-Oh-Dee-Oh... FOOM!

Greatest volcano quote evar:
It was not the first time air traffic has been halted by a volcano, but such widespread disruption has not been seen the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.

"There hasn't been a bigger one," said William Voss, president of the U.S.-based Flight Safety Foundation, who praised aviation authorities and Eurocontrol, the European air traffic control organization, for closing down airspace. "This has prevented airliners wandering about, with their engines flaming out along the way."
Obviously, I find this eruption fascinating and exciting, and I'm reading every last tidbit I can find. I've been surprised at how many people I've talked to today who haven't heard this news yet, and even more surprised at the number of people who have heard of the air travel disruption, but have no idea what caused it. In a way, it seems analogous to someone being aware of airplane groundings on 9/12, but not sure why.

Of course, there is a huge difference: no one died (again, as far as I've read) in the proximal cause of this grounding. But there, in that quote, is a confirmation of something I read and mentioned earlier: apparently, this is the biggest disruption of air travel since the invention of air travel. A question I've been asked over and over, as I described this news to people today, was "how long will the eruption last?" The intended question in most cases was "how long will the air traffic disruption last?"

I've been kind of hedgy in answering. While I have been under the impression that there was a violent eruption yesterday that has sort of simmered down subsequently, I don't know that. The timing of various events can become obscured in traditional journalism; often you get the time the story was filed, if that, and even then it's not always clear where (i.e. what time zone) that happened. So even though what I think I'm seeing in the picture below is a heavy stream of ash headed toward Scotland and Scandinavia, and becoming lighter to the west, I'm not sure, and I don't know exactly when it was acquired.
The next issue is that no one has any idea just how long this eruption will go on. Comments I've read from people who know this stuff much better than I do say these sorts of eruptions can last from weeks to years; the last time this particular volcano erupted, it lasted for 2 or 3 years over a year (from Dec. 1821 to Jan. 1823- see link at followup). Also, the reason so much ash was lofted yesterday is the presence of ice and water. If this turns into a large-volume eruption, presumably it would melt the ice, the water would drain away, and steam explosions tossing ash into the air would decrease, despite the fact that lava extrusion would have increased. Have no doubt, this scenario would cause its own problems, but it would probably have less effect on air travel than spasmodic explosive eruptions like yesterday. So the issue here is "Is the number and size of explosions limited by ice and water, or is it limited by the amount of magma?" And the answer is, we don't know how much magma is down there, nor how much is going to come out.

Finally, even if ashy eruptions continue into the future, day-to-day weather will be the factor determining what areas or regions will be impacted. Air flow changes through time, and it's difficult to predict with any precision more than a few days out, or at all more than a couple of weeks out. Without being able to know just when blasts will occur, and what the weather will be at those times, it's impossible to say how long this volcano will interfere with air traffic.

So my answers to the questions above have basically been, "we can't really say, but it would be a very good idea to simply assume it's going to be a problem for a while." And by a while, I mean until that ice cap is gone, the volcano stops erupting, or both. Yeah, that stinks, but it's better than wandering around in an airliner, unsure whether your engines are going to flame out along the way.

Oh, and I almost forgot... there are some bennies, too. Volcanic sunsets, anyone?

Followup: Michael Welland at Through the Sandglass has the story of his stranding in Philadelphia by this eruption, including links to and excerpts from articles explaining why airplanes and ash don't mix.

Lava, Mama!

I think many geo-types will understand very well what I'm getting at when I say that maybe the most wonderful thing about this current "disaster" is that I don't feel guilty or ashamed for being excited about it. As far as I've been able to tell, no one has been killed or even injured in the events at (and following from) Eyjafjallajökull. Yes, it's disruptive, and a damned nuisance, and repairs and recovery will not be cheap. But it could have been so much worse. Just in case you had any doubts, let me make it absolutely clear that I disagree with the irate fellow in the previous post: YAY, ICELAND!

So in celebration, here's Wanda Jackson with Fujiyama Mama and B-52s with Lava.

My body's burnin' like a lava from a Mauna Loa
My heart's crackin' like a Krakatoa
Krakatoa, east of Java, molten bodies, fiery lava

Fire, fire, burnin' bright
Turn on your love lava
Turn on your lava light
Fire, oh volcano, over you
Don't let your lava love turn to stone
Keep it burnin'
Keep it burnin' here at home

Oooo Hot Lava
Oooo Hot Lava

My love may be as high as the highest volcano
But the altitude is way too high
Well it gets so cold when you look at me that way---yeah
I just wanna have that hot lava
Lovin' me away

My love's mountin'
My love's eruptin' like a red hot volcano
Fire, oh volcano, over you
I gotta lotta lava love locked up inside me

My love's a lava bomb
Knock you in the head
Knock you in the head
Kick you in the lava bed
Over you, hot lava
Don't let your lava love turn to stone
Keep in burnin'
Keep it burnin' here at home

Oooo it's so hot
It's burnin' up in here
Oooo look out, it's about to erupt
Oooo my body's burnin' like a lava from a Mauna Loa
My heart's crackin' like a Krakatoa

Hot fire, red-hot fire
Lava, ohh, hot lava
Hot lava, red-hot lava
Hot lava, re-e-ed, hot lava
Oh hot lava

I'm gonna let it go
Let it flow like Pompeii or Herculaneum
Let it sizzle, let it rise
Don't let your lava love flow turn to stone
Keep it burnin'
Keep it burnin' here at home

I'm gonna jump in a crater
See ya later
Oooo hot lava
Oooo hot lava
Hot lava
Red hot lava
Hot lava
Red hot lava

(Lyrics, which I adore, from here)

Iceland Makes an Ash of Itself

Via Engrish Funny:Apparently, some Sottish fellow, stranded in an airport bar, is taking exception to this volcanic exposure. (Via BuzzFeed:)

On a more serious note,'s The Big Picture has a photogallery of the volcano's eruption. Note the dates in the captions, though: the eruption that is causing today's problems occurred yesterday, April 14. Photos from earlier eruptive phases are included in this collection.And Mary at Geographile found an awesome clip of raw footage. All of the current photos I've seen so far are heavily cloud covered at the elevation of the volcano itself, so there's dark ash and white water clouds emerging from other clouds. No images, as far as I've seen, are available of the current eruption on the ground. But the magnitude of the flooding as glacial ice melts is pretty amazing.

And OMG, hold the presses. I was trying to track down a BBC gallery I saw earlier, and found this article. I can't embed the video, but it appears that the concluding 20 seconds or so consists of black and white footage from an unmanned drone. If this is fer realz... well, picture me stunned. It seriously looks like an over-budget Hollywood blockbuster.

Time to Stay on The Ground

I often get confused, between time changes, reading news and blogs from all over the world, and loosing track of what time it even is here, what the difference between Pacific Time and Greenwich Mean Time is. I just checked. As of this sentence, it's 5:03 PM GMT, and 10:03 AM PDT so 7 hours earlier; during PST, the difference would be 8 hours, I guess.

The reason this is relevant is that there is an enormous air lock down in Europe right now. The Icelandic volcano that I have posted on a number of times (here, here, and here) roared with renewed vigor yesterday, and began a new eruption phase under Eyjafjallajökull. Lava at 1100 to 1200 degrees Celsius and glaciers don't, as a rule, play nice together, and quite a bit of both components have ended up in the atmosphere.

Additionally, volcanic ash and jet turbines don't play nice together, either. The glassy ash can remelt, and foul the blades of the turbine. At best, this decreases performance of the engines; at worst, it causes complete engine failure. So when there is volcanic ash in the air, planes are advised to steer clear or stay on the ground. Often, as with earlier phases of this eruption, it's enough to simply plot a new course to avoid the area. In this phase, however...
So the above, keyed to CET, Central European Time, or GMT +2, was a bit more than 3 hours ago. The chart is part of a photogallery in today's Spiegel Online; those little gold thingies (click for full size) are flights that were in the air 2 1/2 hours earlier. According to the accompanying article,
An enormous plume of volcanic ash, invisible from the ground, has traveled from Iceland to northern Europe and grounded commercial air travel from Scandinavia and Britain to Belgium. Thousands of flights have been cancelled. Problems are expected through the weekend, and Germany hasn't been spared.

The Netherlands-based European Organization for the Safety of Air Navigation, or Eurocontrol, says the flight cancellations represent the most serious interruption of plane traffic in the history of air travel. Because of a massive ash plume from a volcano under the Iclandic glacier of Eyjafjallajökull, which erupted Wednesday, around one-quarter of all flights in Europe have been cancelled.
(Emphasis mine) Chatting with a friend an hour or so ago, I commented that I couldn't think of a more wide-spread disruption of air travel due to volcanic ash, but apparently it's the largest disruption ever, for any cause. Is it really a greater disruption than 9/11? My suspicion is, not yet. But while the above article also has the line, "Eurocontrol estimates that air traffic will be affected for another 48 hours, " the fact is, no one knows what the volcano's plans are. It may explosively erupt sporadically for days or weeks, or it may have already gone back to sleep, as far as I know.

The good news is, as I said to Josh, that we know enough about volcanic eruptions to have foreseen these events as possible, and we know enough about airplanes versus volcanic ash to know to keep the former clear of the latter. We don't have to wait until aluminum tubes start falling out of the sky to avoid the problem... at least the mortally dangerous aspect of the problem. Avoiding the danger, obviously, has got to be a damned nuisance to the hundreds of thousands, perhaps even millions, of travelers whose plans have been disrupted.

As always, for the most up-to-date and trustworthy volcano news, the two blogs I recommend are Eruptions and The Volcanism Blog. These two are run by professional volcanologists, and abundant reader comments and links, combined with knowledgeable oversight, lead to timely and accurate information.

Followup, 11:12 PDT: There's another photogallery at Spiegel Online which I hadn't looked at yet. I had assumed it was the obligatory "planes on the ground, exasperated travelers, etc.," that we always see when there are travel disruptions, and which are profoundly uninformative after you've seen a few dozen of them. And there are plenty of those photos... but there are also quite a few very impressive images of the volcano and its effects as well. I had a hard time picking just one... this is number 12: Numbers 7, 10 and 13 are kind of jaw-dropping too. I'm pretty sure what we're seeing above is a jokulhaup, a sub-glacial flood burst.

Last Call

From The Portland Business Journal, I learned that tomorrow is the deadline to get your Census form turned in and avoid having a worker come to your home to get the requisite data in person.
The U.S. Census Bureau is asking Oregon residents to return their census forms before the weekend to avoid a visit from an agency worker.

As of Tuesday, 69 percent of Oregon households had mailed their census forms, slightly more than the 67 percent mail-back rate nationwide.

"The census form on your kitchen table is a vital investment in your community," Census Bureau Director Robert Groves said in a statement. "It's time for all of us to do our part. Fill it out and mail it back today. Get it in the mail by Friday and you can avoid a visit from a census worker in May."
The figures I've seen vary somewhat, but seem to be in the range of $1500 to $2000 per person for the amount of Federal funds that come to the community and state as a result of being counted in the census. (I presume that's over the course of the subsequent decade.) Also, of course, the figures are used to determine the number of representatives to the US House your state has. I've seen talk that Oregon might add another rep this time, but I haven't seen anything on it lately, so perhaps that's looking less likely now. Quite a number of the liberal bloggers have pointed out that the ever-confounded Michelle Bachmann's calls to avoid the Census count could cost Minnesota a representative, and if a seat is cut, it will be hers.


Finally, it should be understood that the Census is constitutionally mandated, and participation is legally required. As far as I know there are no penalties associated with avoiding it, other than the loss of funds mentioned above, and loss of representation as a resident of this wonderful country. But the Census Bureau is determined to at least try to count you, and there isn't really any downside to being counted. However, there is a significant cost to making them come and find you:
What is the cost per household to conduct the census, and how much is the Census Bureau spending per household on advertising on TV, radio, etc.?

To ensure that the public is aware of importance of mailing back the 2010 Census questionnaire when they receive it, and the millions of dollars in taxpayers’ money saved by doing so, the Census Bureau is spending about $1 per person on our combined promotion and outreach efforts. It costs [the Census Bureau] just $.42 cents to mail back the census form in a postage paid envelop. It costs taxpayers $25 per person to send a census taker door-to-door to collect the same information if they didn’t mail it back. Promotional and outreach efforts are heavily focused on increasing the number of households to mail back their form when they receive it this March. For every one percentage point increase in the national participation rate by mail, taxpayers can help the Census Bureau save about $85 million in operational costs.
One of my IZ friends never received a form; the feds will undoubtedly track him down next month. So some cases are unavoidable. If, like me, you let the envelope collect dust for several weeks before taking a minute or less to fill it out and get it in the mailbox, you're set. But if it's still accumulating fine air-borne particulates, take a moment (and it really is very quick and easy) to fill it out, and get it into the mail.

It's the easiest opportunity you'll have in the next ten years to cut Federal spending.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Wednesday Wednesday

Rack 'em up! (forgot where I found this one)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Monday, April 12, 2010

Coco at UO

Via Salon,
Conan O'Brien, who counted his viewers in the millions on NBC's "Tonight," is playing to a small-town crowd of 2,500 -- and no TV cameras -- as he opens a two-month, nationwide comedy tour Monday.
I'm not sure what the lower population limit is to be considered a "city," and Eugene is certainly not a "big city." But Corvallis is about 50,000, and I wouldn't call it a "small town."
For now, the gangly redhead is news in Eugene, population about 138,000 and nestled among forests, farmlands and rivers 50 miles from the Oregon coast. It's home to the University of Oregon, Ducks football and a fair share of the region's beloved coffee kiosks and shops (Nina's Pony Espresso, among the dozen-plus here, gets points for the name).

With tongue firmly planted in cheek, O'Brien tweeted on his Twitter account Sunday night: "I'm in Eugene, OR and my room faces the theater where I debut tomorrow. The mob outside is in a frenzy."
Furthermore, Eugene is more accurately described as Eugene-Springfield; it's one of those strange double towns, where unless you know the area well, you can move from one to the other without knowing it. According to Wikipedia,
As of 2008, Eugene had a population of 154,620, and the greater Eugene-Springfield metropolitan statistical area (MSA) had a population of 346,560.
Now there's plenty of Oregon that's rural, and plenty that's downright unpopulated- for example, Harney County has a population of 7,609 people (2000 Census figures), with an area of 10,226.5 sq. miles, for a population density of ~0.74 people per square mile. But I don't think of an area with nearly 350,000 people living in it as exactly "small town."

Coco could do worse.

On The Other Hand...

...look what comes out when Milla opens her mouth:

Though Dazed and Confused came out the previous year, my first introduction to Milla Jovovich was the above video on MTV. I don't remember the name of the late Sunday night alternative video show, but I would queue up the VHS and hit record as soon as a video started. If I liked the song, I'd keep it; if not, I'd back up and wait for the next one. As a result, not only was I introduced to a great deal of music I otherwise wouldn't have heard, I got to listen to it repeatedly. Sometimes, as in the case of this one, I so liked a single song, I would buy the album on the strength of that alone. The Divine Comedy was the work that brought the divine Miss M to my attention. And frankly, though I did enjoy Dazed and Confused when finally I rented it, and definitely consider the Fifth Element as one of my favorite sci-fi movies, I'm sorry that she hasn't done further albums.

If you need further evidence of her talent, here's her cover of a traditional Ukrainian folk song, also on The Divine Comedy. Aside from this exception, all the other songs on the album were written by Milla by the time she was 15. Like another of my favorite female singers, Kate Bush, she was phenomenally good at a stunningly young age.

When Bachman Opens Her Mouth

weird stuff comes out...BuzzFeed has ten Classic Quotes care of MB. Regarding the above comment, she might want to try breathing straight CO2 for, say, 30 seconds or so- not enough to cause permanent harm, you know, but long enough to get the idea. Having messed around with the gas in teaching contexts enough to have had my share of carbon dioxide hits, I promise it's not pleasant.

But wait! A recent report from BBC (later picked up by numerous others) links high blood levels of CO2 to "near-death experiences."
Reasons previously suggested for the phenomenon include religion and drugs.

Those who have had near-death experiences report various encounters, including seeing a tunnel or bright light, a mystical entity, or looking down from the ceiling at the scene below in an "out of body" experience.

Others describe a simple but overwhelming feeling of peace and tranquility.
So I can see why she feels it necessary to defend the compound. Her entire thought process is dominated by persistently high blood levels of CO2.
Previous research has shown that inhalation of carbon dioxide can induce hallucinatory experiences similar to those reported in near-death experiences.
So there you go.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

If You Have It will mess your britches when you learn what it's called: aibohphobia is an irrational fear of palindromes. First spotted at TYWKIWDBI this morning, it turns out this is actually a joke dating back to the early days of computer programming, when apparently programs to generate long palindromes were all the rage.

Ask A Biologist

Dave Hone, whom I know of primarily through his blog, Archosaur Musings, recently posted a request for questions for another site he works on: Ask A Biologist. Here is a description from that site:
This is a special site aimed at schools and devoted to providing the best scientific information available to school kids around the UK. But don’t be put off, we will accept questions from anyone who asks.

I'm sorry to say that we are not here to do your homework for you, but if you want more information on any aspect of biology ( the study of life) or palaeontology (the study of the history of life) then we are here to help. We want to take you beyond the classroom - if you want to know more, then come here to ask us and find out.
And from the call for questions,
...this is a site where people can leave their biology based questions and a team of researchers from all over the world will pitch in and try to answer. There’s no middle man, no filter of journalists, precis, reviews or anything else, you ask us, we answer.

And really answer in some cases, discussions of detailed or intricate questions have run to days or weeks over dozens of posts. We seem to operate a less formal peer review with people correcting each others’ errors, discussing points of taxonomy and definitions, philosophy of science and more. It’s a great introduction to the workings of academia and all the while bringing first hand information and knowledge to those who want it.

The newly relaunched site has received some grant and other money, and is in the process of being refurbished and having some new features added. So if you are a teacher, a kid, or a kid at heart, with a question about the living world (or the once-living world), as of April 19 (a week from tomorrow), these guys will be ready to answer it for you.

I would have waited until the relaunch was a little closer, but I tend to lose and forget anything much older than a few days back. Plus it gives you a week to work up a really good question... but do check the index and make sure it hasn't already been answered.

Noctis Labyrinthus

Folded and faulted rocks at Noctis Labyrinthus, on Mars. I have long wondered to what extent tectonic deformation played a role in Mars' "geology." It's pretty clear that for much of its history, Mars has been more or less dead in terms of tectonism. Olympus Mons, the largest known volcano anywhere, is interpreted to be the equivalent of Earth's hot-spot volcanism erupting onto a stable, unmoving crust. So it was possible that the Martian crust was never really mobile. But you don't get features like those above without a least a little crustal motion. (Red Orbit)

Sunday Funnies

Loltheist; Jesus is a dick. More to come...
Engrish Funny
Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr
Shoebox Blog
Sober in a Nightclub
Cyanide and Happiness
demotivational posters
see more Demotivators
Nedroid Comics
Bits and Pieces
Want. The Daily What.
Oregon Expat, with the title "Language is no barrier to a well-drawn comic." (The caption, if you can't guess, translates as "The evolution of TV.")
God Hates Protesters
Balloon Juice
Friends of Irony
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
My First Dictionary
I can see how foreign manufacturers could make that mistake. Though honestly, I'd think Ronald McDonald would be more likely. Skull Swap
The Daily What
Sober in a Nightclub
Bits and Pieces
Balloon Juice
Pundit Kitchen
The final fate of Jar Jar Binks, via Darius Whiteplume's Tumblr.
demotivational posters
see more Demotivators
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
Skull Swap
funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures
Yawp!!! I don't claim to understand the phenomenon, but, for me at least, at a certain point, "too cute" becomes "very funny." Skull Swap; full-size here.
A whole bunch of "Jesus is a dick" comics at BuzzFeed
Probably Bad News

Bits and Pieces